St. Elmo residents participate in Teal Pumpkin Project

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Some people in the Tennessee Valley are making sure children with food allergies have a safe Halloween.

On a St. Elmo street, Halloween is in the air. Among the decorations, this teal pumpkin sticks out.

It’s all part of the Teal Pumpkin Project. It identifies homes where trick or treaters with food allergies can find nut free candies and non food items.

Alison Van Winkle started participating in this because she has a son with food sensitivities.

“We used to be really really careful about what he ate and now that he has gotten older we can be a little bit more lenient. But we have found so many families in our area and have so many friends who are neighbors have strict food allergies, like they have to go by their diet or they have problems. So we wanted to make sure that all of those kids were included in Halloween,” Van Winkle said.

Dr. Marc Cromie, with Chattanooga Allergy Clinic, says this project is necessary.

“If you have a child that has food allergies, particularly milk or egg or peanut or tree nuts, Halloween is a very scary time of year,” Dr. Cromie said.

In addition to going through what your child got at the end of the night, doctors say you can take certain precautions.

“make sure these kids are carrying their EpiPens with them or the parent is if they are younger. So you have that injectable epinephrine device, which is life saving, available in case of an allergic reaction,” Dr. Cromie said.

Van Winkle says every year more and more of her neighbors get involved with this project.
She says it makes all of the difference.

“That one person who shows up or the ten people who show up who ask for non food treats are going to be super proud and excited,” she said.

For more information about the Teal Pumpkin Project, click here.

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